Owens Corning provides 2019 outlook
The company expects an environment consistent with consensus expectations for global industrial production growth, U.S. housing starts, and global commercial and industrial construction growth. In Insulation, the company expects a flat macroeconomic outlook for the North America residential fiberglass insulation business. In this business, the company expects continued positive pricing momentum to be offset by lower volumes and production curtailments. In the technical and other building insulation businesses, the company expects earnings growth driven by improved operating performance and growth in global construction and industrial insulation markets. In Composites, the company expects growth in the glass fiber market consistent with global industrial production growth, with a more uncertain global economic environment. The company expects volume growth and improved operating performance to be offset by inflation. In Roofing, the company expects relatively flat U.S. shingle end-market demand with industry shipments slightly below last year, assuming average storm demand. For Owens Corning, the company anticipates a favorable geographic mix comparison with the prior year and a higher share of shipments. Contribution margins entering 2019 position the business for continued strong performance. The company estimates an effective tax rate of 26% to 28%, and a cash tax rate of 10% to 12% on adjusted pre-tax earnings, due to the company's U.S. tax net operating loss and foreign tax credit carryforwards. The company expects general corporate expenses to be between $140 million and $150 million. Capital additions are expected to total approximately $500 million, with an increased focus on productivity improvements. Interest expense is expected to be approximately $130 million. The company anticipates returning to strong conversion of adjusted earnings into free cash flow. The company plans to prioritize free cash flow to ongoing dividends and reduction of the term loan associated with the purchase of Paroc. Additional free cash flow could be available for share repurchases under the company's existing authorization.